Demetrious Johnson (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)Bold Predictions for the UFC in 2015 Blane Ferguson December 23, 2014 Spotlight 2014 is about to come to an end but before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, there’s still plenty to speculate what could happen in 2015. Now if you will recall, there was plenty of unlikely events, unforeseeable injuries, or strange storylines that occurred in 2014 that not many people saw coming. Here’s a brief review: 1) CM Punk signed with the UFC 2) T.J. Dillashaw dominated Renan Barao to win the bantamweight championship 3) Rampage Jackson returned to the UFC 4) Will Brooks won the Bellator lightweight championship against Michael Chandler, then defended it against Chandler and finished him 5) Cain Velasquez didn’t fight in 2014 Of course there’s more, but this article is about looking ahead toward the future. Predictions such as Conor McGregor getting a title shot or Velasquez fighting at least once during the year are plausible, but not really that bold of predictions. So that being said and understanding that most of the following stories are unlikely to happen, let’s make some bold predictions and have a little bit of fun. Anthony Pettis fights three times and goes undefeated in 2015: A long, long time ago (2010) in a galaxy far, far away (the WEC) Anthony Pettis actually fought four times and went undefeated concluding the year by winning the WEC lightweight championship against Benson Henderson. He was close to doing this and probably would have in 2013 when he won his second fight in 2013 in August by defeating Benson Henderson again for the UFC lightweight championship, if it hadn’t been for injuries sidelining him for the rest of that year and most of 2014 as well. I say he fights in April, August and December. He’d have plenty of time to rest and have full fight camps in between those dates and I don’t really see anybody in the mix who I’d favor to beat Pettis. Demetrious Johnson becomes the first two-division champion since B.J. Penn: Only Randy Couture and B.J. Penn have held championships in different weight classes during their UFC careers, but I think there will be a third fighter to have the honor in 2015 or at least by 2016. I look at each division, see how deep they are and how close the champion is to cleaning out whichever division it is and the most likely cases for a champion to move up are Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson moving back up to bantamweight and Jose Aldo moving up to lightweight. With the recent news of injuries suffered by bantamweight contenders Dominick Cruz and Raphael Assuncao, the list of challengers for T.J. Dillashaw shrunk to basically one guy: Renan Barao. Now you can’t assume that Dillashaw is going to beat Barao; Barao was once considered a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet for a reason. But if Dillashaw does beat him again (and Urijah Faber doesn’t want to fight his teammate), then who would be next? Iuri Alcantara? Johnson has almost cleaned out the flyweight division and his only losses at bantamweight came against Brad Pickett in his WEC debut and a healthy Cruz. Johnson is a completely different fighter now and I would favor him against a majority of the top 10 at bantamweight. A fight between him and Dillashaw would generate a ton of buzz among fans and is easily sellable with the whole “Champion vs. Champion” promotion it would carry. I, admittedly, am a fan of Dillashaw, but it would be hard not to pick Johnson winning the hypothetical fight and thus becoming the UFC’s next multiple division champion. Brock Lesnar wins an MMA bout in 2015: I know, this one isn’t as bold as the others. The rumor of Lesnar’s return to MMA isn’t really anything new, but I’m going to go a step further and say he actually wins in his return. If he is coming back to the UFC, I’d expect them to match him up with somebody he could definitely beat, but also someone who they know will sell the fight. Enter: Frank Mir. Lesnar vs. Mir III at UFC 189, which is slated to be in Las Vegas on July 11th would probably do well pay-per-view numbers and be a huge event for the UFC during the summer. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao actually fight: You may be asking what this fight would have to do with MMA or the UFC. I’ll tell you. If this fight happens, the pay-per-view numbers are going to be huge. I’m no expert on PPV sales predictions, but I’d expect this to be one of the highest, if not the highest selling fights of all time. Maybe a cross-promotional fight of this magnitude would push Dana White and Joe Silva to create more super fights or even create the framework to do something crazy such as cross-promotional fight with a Bellator champion (strongly doubt that would ever happen). Who knows. I won’t believe this fight is going to happen until they actually meet in the center of the ring, just like I won’t believe Dr. Dre is going to release another album until I actually hear it.